Django or Les Miserable On Date Night?

I only got one movie date over the holidays, and it was down to these two.  I’ll see both sooner or later, so I deferred to my cowboy to choose our date movie last night, and you can guess which one we saw.


And we enjoyed it.  I knew I wanted to see “Django Unchained,” but I’m never sure I’m going to enjoy watching a Tarantino film.  They’re always interesting, but some of them, well, you’re just not sure you want to go there.  We’d seen trailers for both movies and I’d seen a couple of interviews.  Clyde is always up for a Western, rarely up for a stage-to-screen musical.  But the trailers were all he needed to proclaim  Les Miz a “downer.”

Now we knew buckets of blood were going to flow in “Django.”  The body count is…well, I lost count.  The language is pretty raw, and the liberal use of the N word has caused considerable controversy.  But it’s an excellent movie.  First and (for me) foremost, it’s well-written.  It’s over the top, but it’s truthful.  Not realistic, but truthful.  There are plenty of laugh-out-loud scenes, lots of references for the spaghetti Western fan to dig on, terrific cameos, gems that add up to real entertainment.  And then there are the nuances and scenes and references that hit hard, no emotion left untapped.  It looks like a Western, but the setting is antebellum South and Southwest, it speaks to the present.  The score is a mix of familiar movie themes, some classical music, a little Jim Croce, a little rap, and it all fits.  And the cast—Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio are excellent but only the beginning—makes it a must-see movie.  And to top it all off, it’s a Romance!  The classic Quest.

So I’m curious…assuming at least one or two good actors and the promise of a real story, how do you choose a movie, and what are your limitations?  Does the rumor of prodigious blood-letting keep you away from a movie?  How about a story heavy with human misery?  How about explicit sex, full frontal and all?

While you consider your comment, here’s my progress report on forcing paperwhites.  Remember, I’m trying a recipe I found online that’s supposed to keep them from flopping over.  After they sprout it’s 10 parts water to 1 part rubbing alcohol.  I’ve been at it for maybe 4 weeks.

PB300002 PC160016


I just took the third one last night.  There are a couple of unopened blooms.  So far no flops.  Stay tuned.

Now talk to me.

Wait!  This just in!  My RITA winning novel, THIS TIME FOREVER, just came out for the first time in e-book and trade paperback.  Available at Barnes & Noble, too, but Nook isn’t up yet.

Quick setup:  Rodeo cowboy Cleve Black Horse  goes to prison for a murder he didn’t commit. Susan Ellison serves on the jury that
convicts him. Now she wants to adopt his child.

This Time Forever - screen


About Kathleen Eagle

Kathleen Eagle is the award-winning, New York Times best-selling author of over forty novels.
This entry was posted in Django In Chains, Tarantino films, forcing bulbs, movie review. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Django or Les Miserable On Date Night?

  1. Liz Flaherty says:

    Although I truly don’t think I’m a prude, blood, guts, and raw language take me right out of the story. I can’t enjoy it when I’m going “ewwww” and staring down at my giant-size popcorn container during 2/3 of the movie. Needless to say, I don’t go to the movies much. 🙂

  2. Trish Jensen says:

    I’m confused, as I don’t know what the “N” word is. I tried and tried to figure out what bad word begins with an N and absolutely nothing came to mind. Nuck? Nastard?

    As far as what I look for in movies, it depends on what Dish is offering. I don’t do theaters, so wait for them to be released and offered from Dish. So looking forward to the Clint Eastwood baseball movie. MIGHT go to a theater to see the one about the capture/kill of OBL (Zero Dark Thirty, or something like that) because that affected me a lot when it actually happened, and also because I have a thing for our military, and SEALS in particular, but probably not. Until my dog is allowed into the theater, I have no date to take me. And I’m positive she won’t pay, nor buy me popcorn.

    Strangely, even though I’m not big on musicals (meaning Les Miz holds little appeal until it comes out so I can watch it at home) Sound of Music is still my all-time favorite movie. Go figure. Although the theme was to bring music back into the lives of a family. But for the most part people breaking out in song at the drop of an idea doesn’t appeal to me. Maybe because in real life this just has never happened in my world.

    What the heck is the “N” word?


    • Ah, Trish, bless you for not knowing the N word. The other night I was doing geography flash cards with my 8-yr-old granddaughter, and when her eyes widened and she said “That’s a bad word,” I had to turn the card and look. I told her the word was Niger–soft g–but that’s the origin (I think–must check to make sure) of the bad word. Discussion ensued. Spike Lee announced that he would not be going to see “Django” because the word is used profusely in the movie and to support it would dishonor his ancestors. Another good topic for discussion, but it’s almost too sensitive to discuss.

  3. Kylie Brant says:

    The fact that one is a Tarantino movie would have decided me as I don’t typically love his stuff. Body count doesn’t bother me (as evidenced by my books) but I don’t like gore on screen. The one I want to see is Reacher. After bemoaning Cruise as my beloved Jack Reacher I have to go and see whether he does it justice. Reviews are saying he does. I’ll see. Watched Clint Eastwood’s Trouble with the Curve. A little slow, a little predictable but still a good film.

    And Trish–Think racially motivated swear word for N word.

  4. Kathleen O says:

    My SIL and I were discussing this movie over Christmas and talking about how ‘bloody” it would be, but one of my all time bad boys is in this film, Don Johnson. He plays the Plantation owner. But, I think I will wait until this movie comes to the small screen and I can skip some of the more violent, bloody scenes.

    • Don Johnson is just one of several who rounds out a terrific supporting cast. And while there’s plenty of carnage in the movie, it doesn’t pretend to be truly graphic. It’s big splash blood, not blood and guts.

  5. loisgreiman says:

    I’m so glad you reviewed this movie, Kathy, though I know you and I often differ in our tastes. For me, it’s just not worth going through two hours of misery to come to a ‘hopeful’ ending. I don’t want to feel shell shocked or scarred at the end of a film. And I want EVERYONE happy. Totally unrealistic I know. But that’s how I am. I want any livestock that happens to be onscreen to be happy. That said, I don’t mind blood, swearing or sex. So what say you, K? Will I like Django?

    • Well, here’s the thing. I still cry when Travis has to shoot Yeller. I’m shell-shocked a lot watching Saving Private Ryan. At the end of Django–this probably isn’t a spoiler–happy hero and happy heroine ride off on happy horses. And, yes, one of the horses demonstrates happiness in a way that would make Lois smile. (Definitely an HEA ending.) Gotta say, the hero is made to order for the romance lover.

  6. Quilt Lady says:

    We don’t go to the movies. My husband and I differ when it comes to movies. He has to have a good scifi or something totally action pack. As my son would put it pointless action movies. That said I don’t mind watching something full of blood, sex, or bad language but it has to have a good story line. Give me a good western or romance movie and I am happy.

  7. Roxanne says:

    Kim, I think Liam Neeson–or just about anyone else– would have been sooooo much better as Reacher. To me, this was just a typical Cruise action movie, but he didn’t even begin to channel Jack Reacher. And some shots of him, looking small and skinny, with unimpressive shoulders, were just a travesty compared to what we SHOULD have had in this movie. Not that I have strong opinions or anything. 🙂 I wasn’t even going to see it, but my dh really wanted to.

    Kathleen, Tarantino and Cohen Bros movies are never my faves. I hate gratuiitous blood and suffering and death. As much as I like some of the actors in Django, I would spend most of my time fixated on my popcorn and trying not to watch!

  8. They’re both sort of an acquired taste, I think. I had real trouble with “Pulp Fiction” because of the drug stuff, but the point is find ways to shake the people up with a story, hit us in the brain as well as the gut. “Fargo” wasn’t my favorite, either, but the Cohen bros are generally brilliant. I do think about these things. When graphic violence and sex don’t serve the story but simply titillate, that’s gratuitous. But even when it’s a necessary part of the story–not gratuitous–it’s not for everybody. If a story doesn’t work for you, that’s that. Responses to stories are so interesting!

  9. debradixon says:

    I’m with Clyde. I don’t go see downer movies! Les Mis just never seems like fun. Last night we too were deciding between Django and …The Hobbit. I wanted to see The Hobbit and Wayne was happy to make me happy. However, I didn’t know it was going to be a trilogy. LOL! I haven’t kept up. So when the movie got really long and Smaug opened his eyes and we done…I was like? Seriously? He makes three movies out of a big fat trilogy and tells a complicated story BUT with a relatively slim volume of an adventure he takes three movies too?! I really need to keep up with my industry movie news!

  10. I loved the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I’ve been so looking forward to seeing the Hobbit, even though so many people have the same reaction as you, Debra! Maybe this is one we’ll all enjoy more when we can watch the Hobbit trllogy in one sitting. 🙂

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